In Ferguson, Dellwood, and surrounding towns, nameless, faceless cowards pillage and rage under the protection of the crowd as they torch businesses, destroy livelihoods, and stone innocents.

Meanwhile, in bedrooms, freshman dorms, and mother’s basements across middle-class America, nameless, faceless cowards mock and exult under the protection of aliases and avatars as they deride the confusion and hurt of a community. These damages are not easily tangible in dollars and cents, but are just as depraved and destructive.

The First Amendment never guaranteed the right to force a platform to provide a cloak of anonymity for cowardly invective. A speaker can refuse to own their words, but a forum has no obligation, moral or otherwise, to publish those words detached from the true identity of their speaker. Anonymity can be an enabler for the weak speaking truth to power, but is far more often used to bully and degrade.

What follows is about thirty seconds of comments on the YouTube livestream for yesterday’s grand jury announcement in St. Louis County and subsequent cut to the then-fermenting protests in Ferguson.

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